When the time comes I will describe that wondrous moonlit night upon the great lake when a young ichthyosaurus--a strange creature, half seal
, half fish, to look at, with bone-covered eyes on each side of his snout, and a third eye fixed upon the top of his head--was entangled in an Indian net, and nearly upset our canoe before we towed it ashore; the same night that a green water-snake shot out from the rushes and carried off in its coils the steersman of Challenger's canoe.
The fragment of an official seal from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), known as the siyin half seal (Fig.
Several late Ming and early Qing dynasty (1644-1911) court officials deciphered the half seal as representing a jingli si (registry office).
Decoding the missing characters should reveal significant information regarding the legal system regulating the half seal and the imperial agency administering this system.
JINGLI SIYIN: MING INTERPRETATIONS OF THE HALF SEAL
Upon viewing Wu Daozi's (689-after 755) painting, Sandalwood Image of Deities (Zhantan shenxiang), Wen wrote a colophon to pinpoint the half seal impression on this piece as a jingli siyin.
1735-95) officials compiled the Qing imperial catalogues in 1744, they defined the half seal on Huang's calligraphy as jingli siyin.
1662-1692) (13) and Gao Shiqi (1645-1704) observed that several artworks in their collections bore the same half seal.
In accordance with Ming-Qing practice, Gu read the siyin half seal as jicha siyin, but did not specify the date or source of the seal.